Averting an international incident, and Canada Basketball news
I would imagine this is how some wars got started.
The First Lady Of The Beat, Cathal (Not Grace) Kelly and I are in the best pub on earth – Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – having one of the best decompression afternoons of the trip.
We’re sitting at a table in the front room, which is actually a very tiny space in a centuries-old building that’s a rabbit warren of different subterranean levels when in through door comes this rather large man who looks – I swear – like Santa Clause. White hair, white beard, the kind of body type you’d associate with Santa.
Well, he and a younger fellow, speaking a language foreign to us, sit down just over there and we’re, um, eavesdropping a wee bit.
Can’t for the life of us figure out what the language is and the conversation goes like this:
Me: “I think it might be something East European.”
Not Grace: “No, it isn’t. Could be something Scandinavian.”
First Lady Of The Beat: “Is it Greek?”
Santa’s helper turns his head and says, in near perfect English:
“How about Finnish?"
Seems the guy’s a tax lawyer or accountant or something like that, Santa – he really wasn’t Santa as it turns out – is his father who’d been visiting for some of the Olympics. The kid's lived all over the world -- he said he went to high school at Columbine as an exchange student.
They seemed particularly unimpressed with us, likely because we’d been chatting about them a wee bit. They seemed to think Canadians are the same as Americans, didn’t really get too excited about us being journalists and Pops, especially, just kept grumbling in Finnish about something.
Yeah, we sure do know how to make friends and influence people.
If your day includes a quick walk through British Museum – too crowded yesterday to linger, maybe today will be better – and then a stop at public house built in 1430 (Thanks to whoever gave me the Cittie Of Yorke!), more wandering and the Cheshire Cheese, you’ve had a pretty good day.
And the Cittie of York is a pretty impressive building.
Oh, right, forgot to tell you.
Steve Nash, in his role as general manager of Canada’s senior men’s basketball team, is bringing together 20 or 25 of the country’s top prospects for a camp in Toronto that starts around Aug. 22.
I’m told the college kids, the teens and the NBA guys are supposed to be around for the better part of the week in what’s a very important first step on the trip to get the team to the 2014 worlds in Spain (Boss? I’m going, right? Right?) and then the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
It’s same kind of thing Jerry Colangelo did when he first became managing director of the American team, get everyone together and on the same page, start some kind of team-building momentum that’ll make it easier for the guys to give up big chunks of their next four summers to play for Canada.
What Canada Basketball wants from Nash is for him to develop a family attitude around the team, make it impossible for people to say no when they are asked to play because it’s a good and fun environment.
The camp will do that, it’ll let the players start to get to know each other on and off the court; a journey they hope ends with a solid finish in Rio four years hence.
Oh, and I’m hearing that they’re thisclose to naming a head coach and Jay Triano, if not a lock for the gig, is certainly high on the list.
Not entirely sure that’ll get done by the time the camp starts but it’s really a secondary issue at this moment, this is about starting something for the players, to get them to commit to the future and feel good about it.
I will fully admit to being out of gas over here now.
Took an extra day because at one point a trip to Paris was in the back of my mind but after 23 days here and an awful lot of buses and trains, the last thing I want to do is travel.
In fact, next time someone needs to remind me I like to go home on the Tuesday, not the Wednesday.
Stevie Boy did some good work over here, it would appear.
That’s one of the weird things about being immersed in the Olympics, you don’t get to see what your paper looks like, you don’t get to listen to what your friends are talking about or what the big story of the day is back home.
You’re in a vacuum, you write, write some more, send it along and someone does something with it. There’s no true sense of how it’s all playing, you just do your best and hope it’s good enough.
Okay, one more walkabout and then that’s it for me and London, I think.
And judging by the number of cars on the streets around here today, the locals are coming back and will probably be quite glad to see us leave.
You know I (heart) you folks, right?
Well, I don't know who did it or how they did it or why they did it but to get back to the hotel room relatively late to find a gift bag of goodies with a lovely hand-written note from an appreciative but anonymous Irregular was one of the nicest things ever.
Seriously, I was utterly taken aback and since i have clue who you are, I just need to say thank you here.